“Sunnyland” the West Coast “Camp David”


Story and Photos by Pat Krause

Sunnylands held a Media Day holding tours of the whole estate. Media was given the same tour that the public will get to take starting in March. The tour started at the main entrance facility. They used 4 large golf carts to accommodate all the media present. Janice Lyle, Sunnylands Director spoke to all about what they would see and what they could photograph.

We stopped at the driving range where Janice Lyle said there are 200 acres in the complex and 6000 trees They have tried to make it all ecologically friendly by conserving on water consumption. Tree trimmings are put in a compost for further use. The golf course has used less grass so it doesn’t require so much water as the course is only used for dignitaries or guests on retreat. Retreats will be limited to those highly recognized individuals in Politics, education and the Arts.

The Annenbergs bedroom will be used for the President of the US as it is the only bedroom in the main house. There are 5 bedrooms in the Retreat building and several cottages to accommodate more people. The Annenbergs played golf every day they were here as this was their winter home. This is a 9 hole course played as 18. Presidents, Foreign leaders, Royalty and some of the top entertainers in the business like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra have played golf there. The history of the estate is all over the compound. Pictures of dignitaries and friends adorn the walls along with the most fabulous art collections. There is a memory room that has photos of those guests that stayed here along with many autographed photos. One wall has the Christmas cards sent to them by the Queen Mom in England. Memorabilia is everywhere.

The Annenberg foundation has brought the estate back to the way it was in its glory days of the 80’s. Original pieces of furniture, statues, art works, and glassware show the elegance of the Annenberg’s taste.Even the bedspreads etc are still original pieces. Glass Chandeliers are thru-out the home with gilded paintings on all the walls. The furniture is Ca decor and the designer of the home was A.Quincy Jones. The use of Pink is also used thru out the main house with the walls a pale green and the roof Pink. There is a spectacular view from every room with glass walls. An outdoor pool is central to both houses while a huge patio on the main house overlooks the pool and the mountains.

There is a lot of history in this house as many important treaties and documents were signed here. Dignitaries from many countries came here to meet with our president, Vice President and congressmen to work out high level problems in the hopes of finding peaceful solutions. Frank Sinatra was married in the main house. Seven presidents have visited at this estate, signed important documents and held many meetings with both foreign and US officials.

The Center is open to the public on weekends to view a movie or find out more about the Arts and Politics. There is a back yard garden that is breathtaking. The center uses Solar energy for electricity and Geo Thermo engineering thru out. Modern creativity is used where ever possible to make it friendly to the environment and the desert and still maintain the dignity of the property. Tours of the Estate will be open to the public on March 1st.

All Photos by Pat Krause Copyright 2012

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